Friday, May 28, 2010

How does your Garden Grow?

It's so fun to see how the garden keeps getting bigger each day.  I am just picturing how it will look when it gets fully grown, if I can keep it alive that long!  What do you use to fertilize your garden? Is there a good organic or toxin free way I can be fertilizing it?  Does anyone compost?  I am scared to try it for some reason, it seems complicated and smelly :p

Thought I would post a picture of my leaf lettuce... it has sprouted!! I planted it from seeds, so to watch it go from looking like a pile of dirt to little green leaves is so neat.  Can you tell I'm a garden virgin? hehe

MY LEAF LETTUCE SPROUTING


The tomato plants are getting bigger, too! I've got a whole row of them, so I should have lots of tomatoes this summer. I'm going to can some of them, too.

TOMATO PLANTS




The plums are getting much bigger on my plum tree.

PLUM TREE

I planted my hydrangeas behind my house, I can't wait for these to get huge!!!!  I wouldn't care if they grew taller than my roof! I love hydrangeas so much.

HYDRANGEAS


My dad is growing a huge garden on his farm. He started his a few weeks before mine and he's already eating the lettuce and things out of his! He has a green thumb and some sort of dirt that has super powers in it  :)

My dad's leaf lettuce and scallion from his garden.


I made me a nice fresh garden salad last night with the lettuce and fresh farm eggs.
Oh I forgot to mention, see that cutting board, that was wood left over form my butcher block counters, so I had a couple of cutting boards made out of it and kept one and gave the other one to a friend.



For my salad, I put leaf lettuce, spinach, eggs, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, scallions, and an oil and vinegar dressing I made myself and topped it off with Nutritional yeast (tastes like cheese).  Yes, that is the serving bowl it is in and I ate it all, you can never make a salad too big!  


I've been looking for some recycling containers for my kitchen and stumbled upon these today.  They don't stand up when they are empty so I'm not really sure how that would work.  If anyone has any neat ideas for your recyclables, please let me know or share a link.


$6.99 each from World Market.



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Update on projects

LIBRARY CLOSET
I worked some on my library closet last night. I thought I would be able to get all the shelves up, but only managed to get 2 up.  I need to keep in mind projects takes twice as long as expected.  I will try to work on that some more tonight. I hope I can get it finished tonight, but if not, then by the weekend.  I have all my books scattered on the floor right inside  my bedroom, so I must get it finished soon. 

SOFA TABLE
I've only got one coat of primer on this so far and the top removed.  I did get the wood that I need cut for it, so all I need to do is finish painting the bottom and nail the boards on to make a top.

DRESSER
My dresser has one coat of primer on the bottom half.  I still haven't stripped the top yet so I can stain it.  I'm going to try to work on one of these at a time to finish them up.  The library closet is first priority right now.  Next I may switch over to this dresser and get it finished so I can have my clothes back in them. Right now all my clothes are in the dresser in the guest room.

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Since everyone liked my smoothie yesterday, I thought I would post the one I made this morning, too.  I'm going to try to attempt to post the recipe to it, but I am completely guestimating the amounts of each thing I used since I don't measure, I just throw the stuff in there.  


I'm not even sure what the name of it could be, I guess a Pomegranite Fruit smoothie?  I just threw in whatever I had in my freezer and frig!  Okay, here it goes, the recipe:

Pomegranate Fruit Smoothie
  • 1 cup of fruit -Bananas, honeydew, and fresh blueberries. (I had cut up the bananas and honeydew and froze them myself)
  • 1 cup of Pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp honey
Blend!  Like I said before, since I don't measure things, you can adjust it until it's the consistency you prefer.
Those little specs in the smoothie are from the blueberries :) 



Yumm!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Update on my Countertops

Lately when people come over, I've been getting a lot of positive comments on my butcher block counters.  Thought I would give an update and show a picture since I resealed them recently.  I absolutely love them!  I started sealing them with Tung oil and changed my mind after a few coats of it and decided to put 2 final coats of Watco Butcher Block Oil & Finish on top. It's the coating that you see on those wooden salad bowls and such and is completely safe for food and FDA approved.  Although I won't be using mine for an actual cutting board, food will be getting on it all the time, so I wanted to be on the safe side.  The oil just rubs on like any oil with either a brush or rag, then you let it dry and it dries hard to the touch. A very smooth and beautiful finish.

I do not regret getting the butcher block counters one bit.  Sometimes, I just want to stand and stare at them they're so pretty and turned out so well.  These are the solid oak ones from Ikea called Numerar.


The sealer really brings out the character in the wood, you can see every detail.  It also made them look a little darker, which I like, too.



When I first moved in, I remember thinking how I liked this big sink, but it needed a little loving care to bring out it's best.  After a lot of scrubbing and  new drains and faucet, she looks beautiful, like a brand new sink!

BEFORE


AFTER


You know what is funny, I have more fun using my kitchen now.  I love cooking in it and it even makes the food taste better :p  Really!  hehe  Well, to me it does.

This morning I made me a smoothie, I may start posting some of my cooking on my blog because I love to cook.  This kind of smoothie may not be everyones thing, it's a green smoothie.
If you or your kids don't like to eat vegetables or greens, this is a great way to eat them instead.  I put in strawberries, bananas, mango and peaches, fresh OJ, coconut milk, honey, and then just stuck the fresh spinach leaves in.  Blend and it turns into a green smoothie. 


You can't taste the spinach at all!  All I taste is the yummy goodness of the fruit.


I can hear a couple of my friends screaming ewww, but you really must try it. You would be pleasantly surprised.
Oh and making it on my pretty butcher block counter made it taste a little better, too.   :-D


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Starting my Garden & Hydrangeas


The Hydrangea is one of my favorite flowers. 

 If you've noticed, I have dried hydrangeas all over my house, but boy would I love to have fresh ones sitting around in vases all the time!  I knew I was going to eventually get some for my yard, but not sure where I'd put them.  
I bought 2 big beautiful Hydrangea bushes today!  They are so beautiful.  

They are a pretty good size, too.
  Here is what one of them looks like, I took a close up of it in the photo above.


I can not wait to get these planted so they can start growing!
It says filtered sun, so does this mean they can't have full sun at all?
If not, I can't put them where I had planned to, which was lined up against the back of my house.  I put them in full sun today and they wilted in 10 minutes flat!  I had to pull them back out of the sun and they perked back up.  They are Endless Summer Hydrangeas.  If anyone can give me some info on these before I plant them, I would appreciate it :)


I also planted more of my garden today.  It took about an hour and a half to get all these little plants planted, it was tiring (I'm out of shape), but so worth it.  I couldn't stop looking at it after I got it all planted and I'm not even done with it.  This area gets around 6 hours of full sun a day I think, and most of the plants directions said- needs at least 6 hrs full sun- so I should be ok. I planted them this evening because I heard it's better to plant when it's not full sun out.

My little garden.

If you're wondering why there is only a fence part of the way up, here is the story...
Little Foot kept running in the dirt and rolling around in it, so I bought some white picket fence to put around it. I knew it was short enough for him to jump over, but I thought it may at least deter him from going in it. He's usually pretty good about not going through barricades of any kind.  Wrong.  First thing he did was jump over it as I was putting it up, so I said that's not going to work.  Now I need to get a taller fence to put around it.  He's been pretty good about not going in it lately, so I think maybe he's learning, but I don't want to chance it. 

I still need to plant the leaf lettuce down the middle.

Here's what I planted:
  • Arugula
  • Tomatoes (Striped, Celebrity, Roma)
  • Onions 
  • JalapeƱo peppers
  • Habanero peppers
  • Bell peppers
  • Cayenne peppers
  • Thai basil
  • Dill
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Zucchini
  • Sunflowers
  • Marigolds
  • Leaf lettuce (coming soon)
I ran out of room, so I wasn't able to plant my cucumbers.  I'm thinking of maybe putting them somewhere else.   I hope this garden survives.  I've never planted  my own little garden before, so any advice is surly welcome!!

Do you have a garden? What are you planting this year?  What's your favorite thing to plant?


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thailand - A special place in my heart

It saddens me to see what is happening in Thailand right now.  As some of you know, I lived there for 2 years.  It was an amazing time and I made many friends there that I still continue to talk with. I lived right in the heart of Bangkok for a year and a half and spent the last 6 mths I was there in Pattaya, Thailand.

Please keep these people in your prayers with everything they are going through right now.

I had said before I was going to post photos from the places I lived while I was there. When I first got there, I was living in a  little condo, what we refer to as an efficiency.  Actually I think it would be closer to looking like a motel room. There was no kitchen, just one open space with a bed, table, armoire (they don't have closets), and a vanity.  The door there is the bathroom. I didn't have anything but my suitcase with clothes, so I had to go buy sheets and this poster for over my bed to give the room some color and life. Those are pillow shams I am using as curtains.  It's nothing fancy, but it did the job.  The condo came furnished.






I also lived in a tiny townhouse with a house mate there. Here is what my room looked like.
Notice I chose the all white bedding and white curtains like I have now, but it was very hard to keep clean there.  I had to wash my laundry by hand.




This was the view outside the window.  I loved walking across the street from my home and ordering breakfast, lunch or dinner anytime I felt like it.  A meal cost about 50 cents at the time. This was in 2002.


I miss Thailand dearly and I hope to one day get to go back.  God bless Thailand.



Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting the Garden Started



A friend came over this morning and plowed a garden for me! Yay!  I'm so excited.  I haven't bought anything to plant in it yet, so I will go this weekend to get all that.

I am wanting to plant:

  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Zucchini
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Basil
I'm wanting a Salsa Garden and things to make salads with.  Let me know if there is anything else that grows well, this is my very first garden.

My dad brought over a couple of Cayenne pepper plants and Bell peppers.  So I planted those out there already.


I'm going to have to put a fence up around it to keep my dog from destroying it.  As soon as I let  him out in the yard,  he made a mad dash to the dirt and started rolling around in it.  Maybe it was his way of trying to help me garden?  :)

Little Foot playing in the new garden.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Working On My Library Closet

I ordered a French door through Lowe's for my Library Closet I'm making.  It came with no holes for the doorknob and no place for the hinges, so I had to figure out a way to do all this myself.

And of course, who ya gonna call?

My dad chiseling the wood away for the hinge.


Three of us got the door up, my dad, a friend of the family and me, but we did it!



Last night I removed the doorknob and primed it.

Next, to put a coat of white paint on it, put the doorknob back on and remove the plastic off the windows.  Then I'll put shelves up in the closet and put all my books on them and  my library closet will be done!

Here is the link to the Library Closet that inspired me to make my own.  Library Closet

Monday, May 10, 2010

Nightstand Refinished - Before & After

I refinished my nightstand a week or so ago, but I wasn't happy with the drawer handles that were on it and the stores around here just didn't have what I was looking for. I was calling everyone I knew to see if they knew where I could find old ring drop handles.  Finally I decided to stalk Ebay for some and I found them, the perfect handles like I was picturing.


I don't know how old they are or anything, but I got a really great deal on them.  $12.74 for a set of 4.  At Lowes they were wanting $10. a piece just for 1 drawer pull similar to this that was nowhere near as nice.  Ebay saved the day again.

Here's the nightstand before I refinished it.

BEFORE


Here it is after.

AFTER


I love it!!!

Here's what I did.

The top part:
  1. Removed varnish and old stain with varnish remover. 
  2. Sanded it with an orbital sander.
  3. Used a pre-stain wood conditioner. (Used lint free cloth to apply)
  4. Stained it dark walnut (used a lint free cloth)
  5. Applied tung oil to seal it. (lint free cloth)



The bottom part:
  1. Removed drawers and handles.
  2. Removed the faux bamboo and wicker attached to the top drawer and sanded.
  3. Primed (Olympic primer, but will use Bullseye from now on, used Purdy brush to apply primer)
  4. Painted it with Olympic Crumb Cookie (A very pale cream color, used Purdy brush to apply paint)
  5. Replaced handles with old antique ones I got from Ebay
I really love how it turned out.  I got this nightstand and dresser set a while back and decided I didn't like them anymore and wanted to get rid of them. I even tried to sell them on Ebay and at a yard sale a few years ago and no one wanted them.  So I got to thinking, since they did cost me quite a bit of money, I may as well turn them into something I like instead of just giving them away and purchasing a whole new set.  I'm really glad I decided to do it and the nightstand turned out even better than I expected.

It looks great in the room and seems to flow better with it's new look.







Next on my project list is to refinish the dresser.


[UPDATE: Dresser above is refinished HERE.]

I also picked up my French door for my library closet and got that put up, but I still have to paint it white.  Then I need to put shelves up in the closet for the books.
[UPDATE: Library closet finished HERE.]

I'm getting my bathroom wallpapered the next Sunday coming up and installing my new bathroom faucet.
[UPDATE: Bathroom finished HERE.]

Hoping to have all of this done with in the next 2 weeks.  Oh and on the side I have been helping my friend remodel her whole kitchen and we're hoping to have that done within the next week or so also.  I will post her before and after pictures of her kitchen, too.  It's also turning out great!
[UPDATE: Kitchen finished HERE.]

I know I sound like a mad woman with all of this remodeling and decorating, but I absolutely love doing it.  It just brings such satisfaction seeing the transformation of a room or piece of furniture. I can't get enough. Bring it on!  :)



Go read more refinishing projects from others over at Home is Where My Story Begins
Also linked to A Beach Cottage.



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